The continuing increase in import of dyed knitted fabrics, despite import duty, is a matter of concern for Tamil Nadu’s textile industry, says Prabhu Dhamodharan, Convenor of Coimbatore-based Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF).

Dyed knitted fabrics are used to make all types of garments. During the first five months of the current fiscal year, India imported knitted fabrics valued at $276 million (₹2,270 crore) — or ₹450 crore a month on average — predominantly from China. . Dyed knitted fabrics in one HS code alone accounts for 30 per cent of such imports, he added.

The influx of dyed knitted fabrics directly impacts various sub-sectors within Tamil Nadu’s textile manufacturing industry, including spinning, knitting, and processing, he told businessline. ITF covers the entire value chain of textile manufacturing.

“We have huge production capacity in our region and elsewhere in India. Several affiliated manufacturing companies have expressed growing concern over the detrimental effects of these imports on domestic manufacturing of yarn and fabric.

Tirupur manufactures around ₹35,000 crore worth of knitwear apparel — t-shirts, inner wear, women’s leggings and shorts — for exports and ₹20,000 crore* worth products for the domestic market.

Local makers hit

To produce the Rs 50,000 crore worth of finished material, the basic materials like yarn, fabric and the processing capacity to dye them are available adequately in and around Tirupur. However, when dyed knitted fabric directly enters the market, it affects the units in the spinning, dying processing, knitting, and compacting sectors.

“The imported dyed fabric eliminates all the processes that have been done in and around Tirupur and Coimbatore with the involvement of multiple units,” he explained.

“Our cluster can make ₹15,000 crore worth of such fabric,” he said.

A preliminary study has shown that a majority of the imports are facilitated through traders who, in turn, distribute the fabric to domestic garment manufacturers in key hubs such as Coimbatore and Tirupur.

Mislabelling worry

The retail selling price of these dyed fabrics fluctuates between ₹320 and ₹350 per kg in the domestic garment market. Given the 20 per cent import duty, the landed cost of the fabrics is concerning. Manufacturing at such price points appears untenable in any part of the world, he said.

“It is imperative that we scrutinise the materials used and ensure the imports are valued correctly, avoiding potential malpractices like under-invoicing or mislabelling with different materials and HS codes,” he said.

“With numerous spinning mills, and knitting fabric and processing units in our state producing similar fabric, this surge in imports poses a significant threat to TN textile manufacturers. We must undertake a rigorous examination of this issue and present a detailed report to both the Union and state governments, soliciting their attention and assistance,” he said.